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BB cream is suddenly everywhere — from giant signs in Sephora windows to the best real estate in the drugstores to cosmetic bags around the country. And even us beauty editors (who have to be hypercritical — it's our job) are excited about this bourgeoning makeup-meets-skin care category.

BB stands for "Beauty Balm" or "Blemish Balm" depending on the formula, and they're basically tinted moisturizers with skin care ingredients and SPF built in.

Although everyone from salespeople to journalists is touting them as all-in-one miracle creams, we wouldn't go that far. "It's marketing," says Washington D.C.-based dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi. "There's nothing magical about a BB cream — but if you're looking for a new tinted moisturizer, why not try one of these?" So that's exactly how we're categorizing them: tinted moisturizers — with benefits.

Find out which best BB creams are our favorites now.

We tried all of the options to decide on our personal favorites. And along the way, a few Total Beauty editors decided that BB creams aren't for them. Some didn't like the texture, which is similar to primer, and others weren't thrilled with the coverage. (They're sticking with their full-on foundations.) The rest of us, however, chose our top picks — and our reasons have nothing to do with the hype.

Image via @lauramercier

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Best Drugstore BB Cream: Garnier Skin Renew BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector, $12.99
Star Quality: Price

"I was extremely skeptical to try BB creams — they seemed too good to be true, and I didn't believe anything could top my tinted moisturizer. (I'm dedicated to Jane Iredale Dream Tint SPF15 Tinted Moisturizer, $36, which gives me the perfect amount of sheer coverage, contains sunscreen, and is pretty much the only makeup that doesn't make me break out.) But I did find a favorite BB cream, and it's available at the drugstore — for about $25 less than most BB creams. This drugstore BB cream hasn't replaced my tinted moisturizer, but it's the perfect option if I want a little more coverage. And, miraculously, it doesn't make me break out, even if I wear it for 18 hours straight." — Dawn Davis, NYC Beauty Director

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Best BB Cream: Laneige BB Cushion, $34
Star Quality: Perfect Coverage

"I was never a big fan of BB creams because they usually don't provide the amount of coverage I need. Yet, I loved the idea of a light foundation that packs skin benefits. So, I (reluctantly) kept up the search. And it's a good thing I did: Laneige BB Cushion is everything I was looking for. It offers sufficient coverage, which is easy to blend and build with the cushion. And it has all the skin-enhancing perks I was seeking in a BB cream (like a hefty 50+ SPF). It even gives my skin a bronzed glow." — Jessica Amaris, editorial assistant

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Best Drugstore BB Cream: Physicians Formula Super BB All-in-1 Beauty Balm Cream, $14.95
Star Quality: Affordable Airbrush Effect

"I'm not much of a foundation girl. I prefer a natural finish, and I don't like to cover my freckles (No matter what dermatologists say, I still think they're cute). This drugstore BB cream pick was one of the first I've ever tried, and years later I still dig its lightweight, moisturizing feel and the soft airbrush effect it has on my skin. The formula has SPF, but it's non-comedogenic, so it doesn't cause breakouts. It also blends nicely — no streaks. For the price especially, this continues to impress me as one of the best drugstore BB creams on the market." — Amanda Montell, assistant editor

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Best BB Cream: Erborian BB Crème, $39
Star Quality: Smoothing

"The skimpy coverage many BB creams provide just doesn't cut it for my skin, which despite my best efforts, looks less than #flawless sans foundation. Not the case with this stuff. Erborian's magic elixir somehow masks my imperfections and enlarged pores, making my skin appear naturally dewy and smooth. Another perk? The moisturizing formula is souped-up with good-for-your-skin ginseng." -- Mary Squillace, managing editor

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BB cream is suddenly everywhere — from giant signs in Sephora windows to the best real estate in the drugstores to cosmetic bags around the country. And even us beauty editors (who have to be hypercritical — it's our job) are excited about this bourgeoning makeup-meets-skin care category.

BB stands for "Beauty Balm" or "Blemish Balm" depending on the formula, and they're basically tinted moisturizers with skin care ingredients and SPF built in.

Although everyone from salespeople to journalists is touting them as all-in-one miracle creams, we wouldn't go that far. "It's marketing," says Washington D.C.-based dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi. "There's nothing magical about a BB cream — but if you're looking for a new tinted moisturizer, why not try one of these?" So that's exactly how we're categorizing them: tinted moisturizers — with benefits.

Find out which best BB creams are our favorites now.

We tried all of the options to decide on our personal favorites. And along the way, a few Total Beauty editors decided that BB creams aren't for them. Some didn't like the texture, which is similar to primer, and others weren't thrilled with the coverage. (They're sticking with their full-on foundations.) The rest of us, however, chose our top picks — and our reasons have nothing to do with the hype.

Image via @lauramercier
BY DAWN DAVIS | SHARES
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